Of course, what I should have been doing is writing an upcoming 30 minute speech, continuing the research on a novel completely out of my genre that I’m doing for someone else, as well as my sequel and the cynical self help book I’m dying to write. However, the fog was spreading from outside to my inside and none of that was going to happen.
I like swimming because it has a calming feel to it. It’s not like going on the cross trainer at the gym and hating every minute; every minute that seems to last forever and you can’t sodding well breathe and you’ve only been on it for 3 of them. Plus the girl on the one next to you is going way faster and not even breaking a sweat which brings out my competitive nature and I end up pulling my calf muscle but have to pretend it really isn’t hurting and in doing so cause myself to panic. This in turn sends my heart rate (which is flashing in red on the panel in front) off the scale and I start to wonder how gracefully I will fall from the machine when I have a heart attack.
Swimming was the lesser of two evils, until I thought about it.
The gym I go to has a very nice pool and when I swim it allows my creative juices to run amok in my little mind; thing is, I don’t like getting wet unless I’m in a tropical climate and can dry off on a sun bed.
Next thing is, you’ve got to get dressed to go to the swimming pool, get undressed again and then re-dressed into your swimsuit. There’s a lot of hard work going on before you’ve even got into the water. You have to consider things like, “Oh God, is the nail varnish chipped on my toes and is my brazillian still intact and I’m really not too keen on that new venus razor I bought for under arm softness,” as you do a full body check for regrowth and other. Once that’s in order you have to pack up a bag with all sorts of things required for ‘after you’ve been swimming’ care.
On arrival and nicely tucked into your swimwear you realise that you’ve left your gym card in your bag and that’s the thing that operates the locker. Another 5 minutes is spent taking everything back out so you can find it along with remembering to turn your phone off so you don’t come back to a lot of pissed off health freaks because your locker hasn’t stopped ringing.
With the locker firmly shut, it is now time to pin the key to your attire. That pin is a vicious bastard. For starters, it won’t go through the halter neck part of your cossie and if you keep forcing it you end up stabbing yourself repeatedly in the chest. Trying to peel enough costume from elsewhere on your body is impossible as it is stuck to you like a second skin. At this point, nipple piercing seems the preferable option. The following issue is hair and if you have a lot of it like me, then it needs to be captured so you you don’t choke on it whilst swimming. I am unable to make this look like some sort of sexy ensemble but astonishingly adept at creating what looks like a nuclear explosion whilst trying not to get my fingers stuck in the hair bobble.
Once at the poolside, it is harshly suggested that you shower before entering so you can wash all the hatefulness off you before getting dipped in chlorine. Of course, as you’re going about this in the open, poolside shower, there is always someone watching you. For some reason I am incapable of making this shower work properly. I consider myself to be a very practical and fairly bright person but I can NOT for the life of me work this contraption. It’s either coming out in a trickle and boiling hot or violently belting out with freezing cold water. At this point the pool dwellers are wondering if you even know how to swim.
Next, you have to suss out the best part of the pool so you can make your way to the metal ladders that always have a screw loose. The pool tends to be split up into lanes for fast, slow and general. I tend to choose general as lanes make me feel trapped. I know it’s only a rope but you’ve made your bed and must swim in it and you can guarantee that if you pick the fast lane, someone faster is going to arrive and tailgate you.
I’m a moderate to fast swimmer and once in the water, want to get on with the task in hand. I’m here to lose myself to the musings of my mind and so I can have (a) Five Guys (burger) later. I tend to choose the more open spaced area so I have room to negotiate the following:
- Girls who go swimming to stand around gossiping.
- Guys who think they’re really good at the front crawl but more akin to an octopus having an epileptic fit.
- Mad old ladies with dementia who have forgotten why the fuck they are there and just float randomly on their back in the middle of the pool.
- And then that person who gets into the pool and has decided it belongs to them and them alone.
No matter where you are, they want to be there and the psychological face off begins. You approach each other from opposite directions and wonder who is going to move out of the way first. This kind of arrogance pisses me off and instead of conceding, my psychopathic narcissist kicks in (more than usual) and I become just as childish.
“If she smiles, I’ll move.” It’s close. There’s a rope one side and a floating granny the other and the food mixing crawler is causing tsunami’s at your rear. You look the pool owner in the eye’s and she smiles, damn it. You slip to the side as she passes just as Grandma remembers where she is and goes into olympic butterfly, nearly drowning you. No longer are you breathing air but snorting bleached water and choking to death.
After an hour of this hell, you try and get elegantly out of the pool only to find that your body has suddenly developed the weight of a thousand mountains; like it has soaked up so much water that it might explode and now you’re dying for a wee but cant walk faster than an ageing elephant.
This is swiftly followed by the art of taking off a wet swimsuit, also known as skinning yourself. Once it is peeled off and inside out, you realise that you forgot to take the pinned key off. By the time this is over and you’ve got all the crap out of the locker you have the onset of pneumonia because you’re so cold and wet.
Eventually you make it into the warm and easy to function showers but…
…you forgot your conditioner.
Back out to the changing room you go to get dressed. For some bizarre reason, getting properly dry after swimming is impossible to the point of ridiculousness. And now because you’ve exercised and showered, you’ve gone from freezing to boiling or maybe you’ve caught something nasty from the pool owner. This doesn’t help in getting dressed as clothes that earlier slipped on like silk have to be dragged and forced along your permanently moist skin until it’s close to bleeding.
Your hairbrush is nowhere to be found even though you definitely packed it and you’re now looking like Medusa after shock treatment on a wet weekend.
And this is why I didn’t go.